shahi paneer recipe

Shahi Paneer Recipe: A Delicious Indian Delicacy Fit for Royalty

Indulge in the rich and creamy flavors of Shahi Paneer, an authentic Indian dish that will transport your taste buds to the royal kitchens of the Mughal era. This flavorful delicacy features soft paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in a luscious gravy made with onions, yogurt, nuts, and seeds. Perfect for special occasions or when you’re craving something indulgent, this recipe is a must-try for all the paneer lovers out there.

Key Takeaways:

  • Shahi Paneer is a rich and creamy Indian dish made with paneer and a flavorful gravy.
  • It is inspired by the royal kitchens of the Mughal era and features a blend of onions, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
  • This vegetarian delicacy is perfect for special occasions or when you want to treat yourself to something indulgent.
  • Shahi Paneer pairs well with Indian breads, rice, and can be garnished with fresh mint leaves or crushed pepper.
  • Experiment with variations of Shahi Paneer to create unique flavor profiles and suit your taste preferences.

The History of Shahi Paneer and Mughlai Cuisine

Shahi Paneer is a traditional dish from Mughlai cuisine, which originated during the Mughal Empire in India. Mughlai cuisine is a fusion of Persian and Indian flavors and is known for its rich and aromatic dishes. Shahi Paneer, meaning “Paneer fit for royalty,” was a delicacy enjoyed by the kings and queens of the Mughal era. It is characterized by its creamy gravy made with a blend of onions, yogurt, nuts, and seeds. The slow cooking process and the use of whole spices create complex flavors that are synonymous with Mughlai cuisine.

Mughlai cuisine, as the name suggests, traces its roots back to the Mughal Empire, which spanned from the 16th to 19th centuries in the Indian subcontinent. The Mughals were known for their love of luxurious and extravagant lifestyles, and this influence is evident in their culinary traditions. Mughlai cuisine combines elements of Persian, Turkish, and Indian cooking techniques to create a unique and refined style of cooking.

The Mughal emperors were known for their opulent feasts, where rich and flavorful dishes like Shahi Paneer would be served. These dishes were prepared using exotic ingredients like saffron, dry fruits, and aromatic spices to create a symphony of flavors. The Mughals also introduced the concept of dum cooking, which involves slow-cooking food in a sealed pot to lock in the flavors and aromas.

“Mughlai cuisine is a true reflection of the grandeur and elegance of the Mughal era. It is a celebration of flavors and a testament to the culinary expertise of the Mughal chefs.”

Over the years, Mughlai cuisine has evolved and adapted to the changing times, but its essence remains the same. Today, Shahi Paneer and other Mughlai delicacies continue to be beloved dishes that are enjoyed by people all over the world. The rich history and cultural significance of Mughlai cuisine make it a cherished part of Indian culinary heritage.

Mughlai Cuisine HighlightsShahi Paneer
Originated during the Mughal Empire in IndiaA royal vegetarian dish made with paneer in a creamy gravy
Fusion of Persian and Indian flavorsFeatures a blend of onions, yogurt, nuts, and seeds
Known for its rich and aromatic dishesSlow cooking process and use of whole spices create complex flavors
Mughal emperors introduced the concept of dum cookingPrepared using exotic ingredients like saffron and dry fruits

Mughlai Cuisine

The history of Shahi Paneer and Mughlai cuisine is a testament to the culinary legacy of the Mughal Empire. Today, we can savor the flavors of this rich and royal cuisine by indulging in dishes like Shahi Paneer, which continue to delight our taste buds and transport us back to a bygone era of opulence and grandeur.

Ingredients Required for Shahi Paneer Recipe

To make the delicious Shahi Paneer, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • Onions
  • Cashew nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Cream
  • Tomatoes
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Green chili
  • Spices (cumin, cloves, cinnamon, garam masala)
  • Seasonings (salt, sugar)

These ingredients come together to create the rich and creamy gravy that is the hallmark of Shahi Paneer. The combination of paneer, onions, nuts, and spices adds a depth of flavor and texture to the dish, making it a true delight for the taste buds.

Why these ingredients?

The use of paneer, a type of Indian cottage cheese, is the star of this recipe. It adds a creamy and soft texture to the dish, which pairs perfectly with the rich gravy. Onions, cashew nuts, and spices like cumin, cloves, and cinnamon provide depth and complexity to the flavor profile. The addition of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and green chili adds tanginess and a hint of heat. The final touch of yogurt and cream creates a luscious and velvety sauce that brings all the ingredients together. Each component plays a crucial role in creating the authentic and flavorful Shahi Paneer.

Where to find these ingredients?

You can find all the ingredients for Shahi Paneer at your local Indian grocery store. If you don’t have access to an Indian grocery store, most regular supermarkets also carry paneer and the necessary spices. Alternatively, you can also purchase them online from various e-commerce platforms that specialize in ethnic foods. Make sure to check the quality and freshness of the ingredients before purchasing them to ensure the best flavor and results.

Paneer200 grams
Onions2 large
Cashew nuts10-12
Yogurt1/2 cup
Cream2 tablespoons
Tomatoes2 medium
Ginger1-inch piece
Garlic4-5 cloves
Green chili1
Spices (cumin, cloves, cinnamon, garam masala)As per taste
Seasonings (salt, sugar)As per taste

How to Make Shahi Paneer Step-by-Step

Creating a delicious Shahi Paneer dish is easier than you might think. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare this flavorful Indian delicacy:

  1. Gather the ingredients: Start by collecting all the necessary ingredients for your Shahi Paneer recipe. This includes paneer, onions, cashew nuts, yogurt, cream, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, green chili, and spices like cumin, cloves, cinnamon, and garam masala. Having everything ready before you start cooking will make the process smoother.
  2. Prepare the gravy: Heat some oil or ghee in a pan and add chopped onions. Sauté until golden brown. Next, add cashew nuts, yogurt, and spices. Cook the mixture until the oil starts to separate. Then, add chopped tomatoes and cook until they become soft. Once the mixture cools down, blend it into a smooth paste. This will be the base of your Shahi Paneer gravy.
  3. Cook the paneer: Cut the paneer into cubes and fry them in a separate pan until they turn golden brown. This will give the paneer a slightly crispy texture. Remove the fried paneer cubes from the pan and set them aside.
  4. Bring it all together: In the same pan used to fry the paneer, add the prepared gravy and bring it to a simmer. Add salt, sugar, and cream to enhance the flavors. Gently stir in the fried paneer cubes, making sure they are coated with the rich gravy. Let the dish cook for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Once your Shahi Paneer is ready, garnish it with fresh mint leaves or crushed pepper for an extra touch of flavor and presentation. Serve it hot with naan, roti, or steamed basmati rice for a truly satisfying meal.

step-by-step shahi paneer recipe


  • Make sure to fry the paneer cubes separately before adding them to the gravy. This will help maintain their texture and prevent them from becoming too soft.
  • Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your taste preferences. You can add more or less green chili or garam masala to suit your desired level of heat.
  • If you prefer a creamier consistency, you can add more cream or yogurt to the gravy. Adjust the quantity based on your personal preference.
  • For a richer flavor, you can soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 15-20 minutes before blending them into a paste. This will ensure a smooth texture and enhance the creaminess of the gravy.

Tips for a Perfect Shahi Paneer

Creating a perfect Shahi Paneer requires attention to detail and a few key tips. Follow these guidelines to elevate your dish and make it truly flavorful:

  1. Use fresh and quality ingredients: Start with fresh paneer, as it will be tender and melt-in-your-mouth. Opt for ripe tomatoes, aromatic spices, and high-quality nuts to enhance the taste of the dish.
  2. Sauté the spices: Before adding the onion paste or tomato puree, sauté the whole spices in hot oil to release their flavors. This step will intensify the taste and aroma of the dish.
  3. Create a smooth gravy: To achieve a creamy and velvety texture, make sure to blend the onion, cashew, and tomato mixture to a smooth paste. This will ensure that the gravy is silky and luxurious.
  4. Balance the flavors: Adjust the seasoning of your Shahi Paneer by balancing the flavors of sweetness, tanginess, and spiciness. Add a pinch of sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes and a dash of lemon juice to enhance the tanginess.
  5. Garnish with love: Finish your Shahi Paneer with a flourish by garnishing it with fresh cilantro, crushed nuts, or a drizzle of cream. These final touches not only add visual appeal but also enhance the overall taste of the dish.

By incorporating these tips into your cooking process, you can elevate the flavors of your Shahi Paneer and create a truly delicious and impressive dish.

tips for shahi paneer

Expert Tip

“To make your Shahi Paneer even more flavorful, soak the cashew nuts and almonds in warm water for 30 minutes before blending them. This will make them easier to blend into a smooth paste and result in a creamier gravy.”

Table: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Using low-quality paneerInvest in good quality paneer or make it at home for a soft and creamy texture.
Skipping the sautéing stepSautéing the spices before adding the onion paste will enhance the flavors of the dish.
Not blending the gravy thoroughlyEnsure a smooth and silky texture by blending the onion, cashew, and tomato mixture well.
Overcooking the paneerAdd the paneer towards the end of the cooking process to prevent it from becoming tough and rubbery.
Skipping the garnishAdd a final touch with fresh herbs, nuts, or cream to enhance the presentation and flavor of the dish.

Serving Suggestions for Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer, with its rich and creamy gravy, pairs perfectly with a variety of accompaniments. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

  • Indian Breads: Serve Shahi Paneer with freshly baked naan, soft roti, or flaky paratha. The warm, pillowy texture of these breads complements the creamy paneer and helps soak up the delicious gravy.
  • Steamed Basmati Rice: Enjoy Shahi Paneer with fragrant basmati rice for a wholesome meal. The delicate aroma of the rice enhances the flavors of the dish and provides a comforting contrast to the creamy gravy.
  • Pulao: Elevate your Shahi Paneer experience by serving it with a flavorful pulao. Whether it’s a classic vegetable pulao or a fragrant biryani, the combination of the aromatic rice and creamy paneer creates a delightful fusion of flavors.

In addition to these main accompaniments, you can also include a side of raita, such as cucumber raita or boondi raita, to cool down the palate and add a refreshing element to your meal. A simple salad with fresh vegetables and a tangy dressing can also provide a light and crunchy contrast to the rich Shahi Paneer.

To enhance the presentation and flavor of your Shahi Paneer, consider garnishing it with fresh mint leaves or a sprinkle of crushed pepper. These final touches add a touch of freshness and enhance the visual appeal of the dish.

serving suggestions for shahi paneer

Table: Serving Suggestions for Shahi Paneer

Indian BreadsFreshly baked naan, soft roti, or flaky paratha
Steamed Basmati Rice Fragrant basmati rice
PulaoVegetable pulao or fragrant biryani
RaitaCucumber raita or boondi raita
SaladSimple salad with fresh vegetables and tangy dressing

Variations of Shahi Paneer

While the classic Shahi Paneer recipe uses a creamy onion and nut paste, there are several variations of this dish that you can try. These variations add unique flavors and textures to the traditional recipe, allowing you to customize and experiment with your Shahi Paneer preparation.

Tomato-based Shahi Paneer

One popular variation of Shahi Paneer involves adding tomatoes to the gravy. This gives the dish a tangy flavor and a vibrant red color. To make this variation, you can replace a portion of the onions with tomatoes or add a tomato puree to the base gravy. The addition of tomatoes adds a pleasant acidity that complements the richness of the paneer and the creamy gravy.

Vegetable Shahi Paneer

If you want to make your Shahi Paneer more wholesome and nutritious, you can add vegetables to the dish. Peas, carrots, bell peppers, and potatoes are popular choices for this variation. Simply add these vegetables to the gravy along with the paneer and let them cook until tender. The addition of vegetables not only adds texture but also enhances the nutritional value of the dish.

Spicy Shahi Paneer

If you prefer your Shahi Paneer to have a kick of heat, you can experiment with different spices to create a spicy variation. You can add red chili powder, black pepper, or green chilies to the gravy to increase the spiciness. Adjust the quantity of these spices according to your taste preferences. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy bold and fiery flavors.

These are just a few examples of the many variations you can try with Shahi Paneer. Feel free to get creative and add your own twist to this classic Indian delicacy. Whether you choose to make it more tangy, add vegetables, or make it spicier, each variation will offer a unique and flavorful experience.

Health Benefits of Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer not only satisfies your taste buds but also offers several health benefits. Here are some of the nutritional values and advantages of including Shahi Paneer in your diet:

1. Protein-Rich

Paneer, the main ingredient in Shahi Paneer, is a rich source of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, as well as supporting muscle growth. Including Shahi Paneer in your diet can help meet your daily protein requirements.

2. Calcium for Strong Bones

Paneer is also a great source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Adding Shahi Paneer to your meals can contribute to your daily calcium intake, promoting optimal bone health.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The spices used in Shahi Paneer, such as ginger, garlic, and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties. These spices can help reduce inflammation in the body and may provide relief from conditions like arthritis and certain digestive disorders.

Incorporating Shahi Paneer into your diet in moderation can be a delicious way to enjoy its nutritional benefits. However, it’s important to note that Shahi Paneer is also high in fat and calories, so it’s essential to consume it as part of a well-balanced diet and in appropriate portions.

Storage and Reheating Tips for Shahi Paneer

Proper storage and reheating techniques are essential to maintain the quality and flavor of Shahi Paneer. Here are some tips to help you store and reheat this delectable dish:

Storing Shahi Paneer

To store Shahi Paneer, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. This will help preserve its freshness and prevent spoilage. Ensure that the container is tightly sealed to avoid any exposure to air, which can lead to the growth of bacteria.

Shahi Paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, it is best to consume it within 2 days for optimal taste and texture. Keep in mind that the longer it is stored, the softer the paneer may become, and the gravy may thicken further.

Reheating Shahi Paneer Leftovers

When reheating Shahi Paneer leftovers, it is important to use gentle heat to prevent the paneer from becoming tough and rubbery. Here’s a simple method to reheat Shahi Paneer:

  1. Transfer the desired portion of Shahi Paneer to a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap to retain moisture.
  3. Heat the Shahi Paneer in the microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes. Stir the dish gently halfway through the reheating process.
  4. Check the temperature of the Shahi Paneer to ensure it is heated through. If needed, heat for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Once heated, let the Shahi Paneer rest for a minute before serving.

Note: If the Shahi Paneer appears too thick after reheating, you can add a splash of water or cream to restore its creamy consistency.

Storage TipsReheating Tips
Transfer Shahi Paneer to an airtight container.Use gentle heat to prevent paneer from becoming tough.
Refrigerate Shahi Paneer for up to 3 days.Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap.
Consume within 2 days for optimal taste.Heat on medium power in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Avoid exposure to air to prevent spoilage.Stir the dish gently halfway through the reheating process.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy the rich flavors of Shahi Paneer even when enjoying it as leftovers. Just remember to handle and store the dish with care to maintain its taste and quality.

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Shahi Paneer

While making Shahi Paneer, it is possible to encounter some common problems. Here are the solutions to help you overcome these issues and achieve a delicious result:

Problem: Gravy is too thin or watery

Solution: If your Shahi Paneer gravy turns out thin or watery, you can thicken it by simmering it on low heat for a longer duration. This will allow the excess moisture to evaporate and the gravy to thicken naturally. You can also add a paste of cashew nuts or roasted gram flour (besan) to the gravy to give it a thicker consistency.

Problem: Gravy is too thick or lumpy

Solution: To fix a thick or lumpy Shahi Paneer gravy, you can add a little bit of milk, cream, or water to thin it out. Start with a small amount and gradually add more until you reach the desired consistency. Make sure to whisk the gravy well to remove any lumps. If the gravy is too lumpy, you can use a blender or immersion blender to smooth it out.

Problem: Paneer turns rubbery or chewy

Solution: If you find that your paneer has become rubbery or chewy after cooking, it may have been overcooked. To prevent this, make sure to add the paneer towards the end of the cooking process and cook it on low heat for a short time. Overcooking can cause the paneer to become tough and lose its soft texture. Additionally, you can soak the paneer in warm water for a few minutes before adding it to the gravy to soften it.

Gravy is too thin or waterySimmer on low heat to evaporate excess moisture
Add paste of cashew nuts or roasted gram flour
Gravy is too thick or lumpyAdd milk, cream, or water to thin it out
Whisk gravy well or use blender to remove lumps
Paneer turns rubbery or chewyAdd paneer towards the end of cooking process
Cook on low heat for a short time
Soak paneer in warm water before adding to gravy

By following these solutions, you can overcome common issues that may arise while making Shahi Paneer. Troubleshooting and adapting the recipe as needed will help you achieve a perfect result every time, ensuring that you can enjoy the rich and royal flavors of this delectable Indian dish.


Shahi Paneer is a delightful Indian delicacy that brings the flavors of Mughlai cuisine to your plate. This rich and creamy dish features soft paneer in a flavorful gravy, making it perfect for special occasions or when you want to indulge in something truly royal.

With its origins in the royal kitchens of the Mughal era, Shahi Paneer is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of India. The blend of onions, yogurt, nuts, and seeds creates a complex and aromatic gravy that is synonymous with Mughlai cuisine.

By following the step-by-step recipe and incorporating the tips provided in this article, you can easily recreate this restaurant-style dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether you serve it with naan, roti, or rice, Shahi Paneer is sure to impress your family and friends with its exquisite flavors.


Can I make Shahi Paneer without paneer?

Paneer is an essential ingredient in Shahi Paneer and provides a unique texture and taste. However, if you cannot find paneer, you can try substituting it with tofu or firm cottage cheese.

Can I make Shahi Paneer without nuts?

Nuts like cashews are an important component of the creamy gravy in Shahi Paneer. However, if you have a nut allergy or prefer not to use them, you can omit them from the recipe. The gravy will still be flavorful, but it may not have the same rich and creamy texture.

Can I make Shahi Paneer spicy?

Shahi Paneer is typically a mild and creamy dish. However, if you prefer spicier flavors, you can add more green chilies or red chili powder to the gravy. Adjust the amount of spice according to your taste preferences.

Is Shahi Paneer gluten-free?

Yes, Shahi Paneer is gluten-free as long as you ensure that the spices and seasonings you use are also gluten-free. Check the labels of the spices to make sure they do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients.

Can I freeze Shahi Paneer?

Shahi Paneer can be frozen, but it is best enjoyed fresh for optimal taste and texture. Freezing may alter the consistency of the gravy and the paneer. If you do choose to freeze it, make sure to store it in an airtight container and thaw it properly before reheating.

Can I make Shahi Paneer vegan?

Shahi Paneer is a vegetarian dish that traditionally includes dairy products like paneer, yogurt, and cream. However, you can make a vegan version of Shahi Paneer by substituting these ingredients with plant-based alternatives like tofu, vegan yogurt, and coconut cream. Adjust the quantities and cooking times accordingly.

Can I make Shahi Paneer using pre-packaged paneer?

Yes, you can use pre-packaged paneer to make Shahi Paneer. However, homemade paneer usually has a softer and creamier texture. If using pre-packaged paneer, make sure to dice it into bite-sized pieces and handle it gently to prevent it from breaking apart during cooking.

How long does it take to make Shahi Paneer?

The total cooking time for Shahi Paneer is approximately 40-45 minutes, including the preparation. This may vary depending on your cooking speed and experience. Plan accordingly and allocate enough time to enjoy the process of creating this delicious dish.

Can I make Shahi Paneer ahead of time?

Yes, you can make Shahi Paneer ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This allows the flavors to develop and intensify. When reheating, you may need to add a splash of water or cream to restore the creaminess of the gravy, as it tends to thicken upon refrigeration.

Can I adjust the spices in Shahi Paneer?

Yes, you can adjust the spices in Shahi Paneer according to your taste preferences. If you like it milder, reduce the amount of green chilies or omit them altogether. If you like it spicier, add more green chilies or red chili powder. Taste and adjust the spices during the cooking process to achieve your desired flavor profile.

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